Andy Reid should keep trusting instincts

October, 22, 2013
10/22/13
7:05
AM ET
KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- After Andy Reid made the unorthodox coaching move and took a Kansas City Chiefs field goal off the scoreboard in last month’s game against the New York Giants, I told you his team would benefit as long as Reid continued to follow his instincts rather than make his decisions based on what the coaching book says.

It’s easy to like unorthodox decisions when they work, as they did for the Chiefs that day. Reid accepted a New York penalty and erased a Ryan Succop field goal that would have put the Chiefs ahead 20-7. They drove for a touchdown and a 24-7 lead.

Reid made a couple more decisions in Sunday’s 17-16 win against Houston that went against the book and this time, neither one worked out. That’s OK, because I still believe they were the right things to do.

[+] EnlargeAndy Reid
AP Photo/Matt RourkeChiefs coach Andy Reid has made some aggressive calls with mixed results.
The first was to have the Chiefs go for the touchdown while facing a fourth and goal from the Houston 1 early in the fourth quarter. A field goal would have been nice, but wouldn’t have immunized the Chiefs from another long pass play the Texans were getting from quarterback Case Keenum.

A touchdown there would have given the Chiefs an eight-point lead and some nice insurance against a Keenum bomb. The Chiefs failed to score when Alex Smith's pass intended for Sean McGrath was incomplete.

“You work your tail off, and there’s a time and a place where you just go," Reid said. “You dial it up and you score. You’ve got to have that. We were right there. We’re learning. We’re going to get better at that. Next time we’re going to give them that opportunity in that situation in the game (and) we’re going to make sure we get six points out of that and not come up short like that."

Later,the Chiefs faced a 3rd-and-4 from the Houston 40 at the two-minute warning. The Texans had already used their three time outs and could no longer stop the clock while the Chiefs had possession.

The book says to call a running play. Maybe Jamaal Charles picks up the first down and even if not, the clock continues to run, leaving little time for the Texans.

Reid, the offensive play-caller, dialed up a slant pass for Dwayne Bowe. Bowe either dropped the pass or it was broken up. Hard to tell from the video.

Either way, the pass was incomplete and the clock stopped. The Chiefs punted and Houston took over the ball for the final time at its 10 with 1:46 left.

This one isn’t as simple of a decision for me. I see the logic either way. Eventually, aggressiveness pays off as long as it’s not recklessness. This call wasn’t reckless. It was a high-percentage throw. And in the event of an incompletion, Reid knew he had <a href="http://espn.go.com/nfl/player/_/id/8513/dustin-colquitt">Dustin Colquitt</a>’s nice touch inside the 20 and then a strong defense backing him up.

“I’m not into the four corners stall and all that stuff," Reid said. “We try to score points the best way that we know how. I thought I had a good call there.

“A whole lot of things go into that. You’ve got to have a feel for the game. You’ve got to know your matchups. I take all that into consideration. Field position, I take that into consideration. Is my punter’s leg healthy? I take that into consideration. I make sure I go through and look at everything. I thought it was the right thing to do at that particular time. I still do. I would have liked a better result."

Adam Teicher

ESPN Kansas City Chiefs reporter

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